ReviewBen Butzow (pestulio07)
Welcome back once again to Mega May! Last week we took a few jabs at our blue clad robo-friend, and for that I’m not proud. To make up for it, this week we’ll be covering some suggestions for gamers from Mega Man’s massive catalog, as well as some of the best musical tributes to our friends Rock and Roll! Heh, get it? Because in Japan…he’s called Rock?
I’ll see myself out.
Remember when you were bored in grade school, so you’d fill your notebooks with Super Mario or Sonic the Hedgehog doodles and fan fiction? What if you took that fiction, and made it into a rock opera? Thus was the fate of The Protomen, a rock band with two albums set in a fictional storyline in the Mega Man universe.
The stories themselves are dark enough to make even Christopher Nolan blush, but no less enjoyable because of it. Act 1 tells the story of the creation and fall of Proto Man, the building of his replacement, Mega Man, and his struggle with the ideas and responsibilities of what a hero really is.
Act 2 is a prequel, and covers the loss of friendship between Dr. Light and Dr. Wily, as well as the fall of mankind under Wily’s rule. Both are incredible albums that I would highly recommend even for non Mega Man fans. The Protomen have also had their music featured in season one of the popular YouTube series “Video Game High School.”
I highly suggest that your first listen to the albums are accompanied by a glance through the band’s Wikipedia page. There are a few story elements that aren’t portrayed through the music, that need to be read. They definitely impact the story, especially related to the somewhat cliffhanger end of Act 1. Don’t worry though, they’re hard at work on Act 3 as we speak!
If any of that sounded as interesting to you as it did to me, take a look at their official page. Should be some things there you’d enjoy.
There is no shortage of video game remix artists, but in the same way that sites like DeviantArt or YouTube give every person the ability to share their creations, not all of them are on equal ground. I’m a very big fan of 8-bit remix music, but Joshua Morse does it best. One of his albums, The Robot Museum, covers a medley of Mega Man music in a variety of musical styles. You really need to listen to his work to understand.
Think that was something you could listen to every day in the shower and during breakfast while walking the dog and your wife yells at you to choose it’s either her or Josh and you’re like how is that even a decision let’s go Josh we’re not wanted here anymore? I thought it would be! Check out his bandcamp profile for more stuff.
The Best of the Best
As such a beloved franchise continued to gain ground throughout the decades, more and more spin-offs, future or alternate universe settings began to rise. Given that Mega Man and friends appear in over 100 different titles from NES to Wii U, it can be hard to decide which ones deserve your attention.
Every game in the series offers something unique. Young or old, there’s something for almost any gamer. That said, here are my top picks for a variety of categories.
“I don’t have all day, and I’m a pretty casual gamer. I like quick, easy games.”
Mega Man: The Power Battles (Arcade, PS2, Xbox, GC)
Mega Man 2: The Power Fighters (Arcade, PS2, Xbox, GC)
The originally arcade-only Power Battles/Fighters games are a fun, simple foray into the Mega Man universe. Since the games were made to be arcade cabinets, they forego levels altogether, instead offering a string of boss fights. I suggest picking up the Mega Man Anniversary Collection in order to play these, since you get infinite continues. Both of the games can be conquered within half an hour, offering a fun, fast way to conquer some robot masters with the Blue Bomber and friends.
“I love a challenge. The thrill of trial-and-error boss fights is why I’ve beaten Dark Souls ten times!”
Mega Man 1 (NES, PS2, Xbox, GC)
Mega Man & Bass (SNES, GBA, Wii U)
Mega Man X3 (PS1, PS2, Xbox, GC)
Chances are high that if you pick up any MM game at all, you’ll be happy. Those who want a real challenge though, should start by mastering the first in the series. No charge shots, slides, or double jumps here. It’s edge-of-your-seat NES platforming at it’s finest.
Not enough? Then give Mega Man & Bass or Mega Man X3 a whirl. Both of these games provide some of the most brutal platforming and maddening boss fights throughout the series history. You won’t be breezing through these any time soon.
“I like being engrossed in the story, characters, relationships, and plot lines. It’s why I play games. Or eat. Or, like, breathe.”
Mega Man: Battle Network (GBA, Wii U)
Mega Man Legends (PS1, N64)
Mega Man X: Command Mission (PS2, Xbox, GC)
The MM: Battle Network series spanned six games, a manga, and a television show. No, I’m not kidding. If you want strong character bonds and interactions, look no further. They are, however, aimed at a slightly younger audience. That never stopped fans of My Little Pony though. So. You know. Have at it.
A slightly more teen-to-adult story can be found in Mega Man Legends (or Mega Man 64). It’s set thousands of years after the original Mega Man series, with characters who just happen to be named after the original Mega Man and Roll.
If you’re looking for a darker story, pick up Mega Man X: Command Mission. This game is, strangely enough, a “turn-based RPG.” The MMX franchise has always been darker, and carried more adult themes and stories, though it’s still appropriate for all ages.
“I’m not very good at video games. I like being able to beat a game without too much frustration.”
Mega Man: Powered Up! (PSP)
Mega Man Xtreme (GBC, 3DS)
My personal favorite of the MM franchise is the PSP exclusive, Mega Man: Powered Up!. The game is a remake of the original (from the NES) but the graphics are completely overhauled, and a difficulty setting is added, making it accessible for any gamer. The game also features a level creator, the ability to play as any of the in game bosses, downloadable costumes, and so much more.
Mega Man Xtreme is a Gameboy Color port of the console versions of MMX 1 and 2. The graphics and gameplay are slightly dumbed down, but it tends to make the game slightly simpler, and more accessible for rookie players.
In the final chapter of Mega May, we’ll be discussing the future of Mega Man, the best cameos and tributes, and his upcoming spiritual cousin, Mighty No. 9!